JOHN M. WILSON, LT, USNR
John Wilson '34
Date of birth: January 26, 1912
Date of death: September 5, 1942
From the 1934 Lucky Bag:
John was lost when USS Gregory (APD 3) was sunk near Guadalcanal by Japanese surface forces early in the morning of September 5, 1942.
His wife was listed as next of kin.
John graduated from the Naval Academy but resigned immediately. Fifty-eight of his classmates did so because of physical disqualification; another 43 did so voluntarily. He joined the Naval Reserves as an Ensign, DEVG, on November 15, 1934; he was still listed as an Ensign in the 1941 edition of "Commissioned Officers, Cadets, Midshipmen, and Warrant Officers of the United States Naval Reserve."
The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.
The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.
The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.
Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.
Ensign, naval reserve, USS Gregory